Solving the Strategic Business Plan Execution Conundrum

You see it everywhere in the media right now – “Business execution leads to greater success”. How can you create the foundation for strategic business plan execution that moves your organization from “strategizing” to “executing" with impeccability!?

Your strategy, people, systems and work processes need to be effectively linked for true strategic business plan execution excellence. We hear so often the statistics about problems that occur when companies have a brilliant strategy, but fail to execute. What goes wrong? Why do so many companies fail to execute? What is stopping them from being successful? These are the questions that company executives ponder in-light of the dismall record of these strategy implementation failures.

Execution excellence is achieved through the precise implementation of two things:

Business Alignment:

Clear, measureable goals aligned with the organizational strategy.

People Performance:

The right people with the right skills in the right jobs doing the right things.

Preparing an organization for business execution excellence requires siqnificant acumen in ones understanding of people and strategies within the company. Executives need to create and communicate the business goals and have a process in place where employees’ individual goals are cascaded and aligned to support the "big picture". Employees need to know where they fit in–what they need to do and how it supports the organization. Doing all of this in the context of massive, accelerating and often disruptive change is a daunting task for many company leaders. Business execution is not easy, but it is worth it.

In the following discussion we will lay-out a number of crucial challenges that must be overcome inorder to successfully establish and execute your annual business plan:

Has your organization defined its strategic goal(s)?

"Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have          
twenty-four hour days." - Zig  Ziglar

Business execution cannot occur until there is something to execute. The first step begins with the organizational strategy. A good strategic plan provides a "big picture" that enables managers to see and anticipate execution problems. From this plan, managers can meet with employees to establish clear individual goals that support the company’s goals. You can’t execute until you have the plan, but, on the other hand–just because you have the plan, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to execute well.

Does everyone know what they need to be working on?

The business execution plan must be communicated to and understood by the entire organization. These days, companies struggle to share information through complex, geographically spread out organizations. You need to get the message out to everyone–all across the board, from top-to-bottom. Without guidance, individuals do things they think are important, often resulting in uncoordinated, even conflicting decisions and actions.

Goal alignment to the strategic plan ensures that each person within your organization can see the direction for the business and know how their job fits in with the “Big Picture”. Without the benefit of a logical approach, strategy execution suffers or fails because employees won't know what steps to take and when to take them. Having a model or roadmap positively affects execution success.

Is your workforce fully engaged?

Making execution work requires feedback about organizational performance and then using that information to fine-tune strategy, objectives, and the execution process itself. Employees who clearly understand their individual goals – and how they relate to the larger goals of the company – naturally become more engaged with their work. Companies that are successful in executing their strategic business plans realize that their achievements are linked to their ability to manage, track and communicate goals – informing their employees and linking reward systems with individual and team performance to keep them engaged in their work. Without clear responsibility and accountability, execution programs will falter.

Are your employees fulfilling their potential?

One of the greatest leadership challenges faced by managers is the strategic personal development of employees in order to ensure effective use of talent. Keeping your employees engaged and motivated is the key to a successful, highly-productive workforce. When you effectively Lead, incentivise and empower employees, the company will be rewarded with higher rates of employee engagement and higher retention. This leads to an organization staffed with a workforce of people who are highly productive, skilled and committed to doing their very best on the company's strategy execution plan.

In the final analysis, it is critical to point out that strategic business plan execution is an on-going process. Although broad strategy and direction will not waver, the things you do, and the sequence inwhich you do them, will continually evolve due to changing conditions in both the internal and external environment. A strategic business execution plan will enable leaders to deploy an appropriate strategic roadmap, ensure that employees are executing on it every day and make adjustments when necessary. Align your goals, people and systems and you will be well on your way to effective strategy execution and a more successful business.